Bellator's initial foray into PPV was canceled after former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz broke his neck in practice, scuttling the main event vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Now they are trying it again on May 17, with Tito third on the card.
This time, Ortiz is matched up with Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko. In the early days of the sport, weight disparities were commonplace. In 1998, Daiju Takase beat Manny Yarborough despite begin outweighed by 417 pounds. However, while there are a handful of competitors including Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson, and Vitor Belfort who can fight in two divisions, a champion at 185 fighting at 205 is highly unusual.
Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney recently appeared on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show to discuss the fight, and says by the time they step in the cage, the weight difference will not be 20 pounds, it will be 30 pounds, or more. Given that the Mississippi Athletic Commission may be looking very carefully at Shlemenko fighting up a division, discussion of further size differences may be impolitic.
“It’s 20 pounds on paper, but legitimately, Shlemenko walks around at 190," said Rebney. "He’s a guy who cuts four pounds, who stops eating big meals a day and a half before the fight to cut four pounds of water weight to make 185. He’s a typical Eastern European fighter who’s not interested in the cut. By the time that fight goes into the cage, you’re probably looking at a 30-, 35-pound weight disparity between Tito and Alexander. I think that’s what gives a lot of the punch behind that big fight that we’ve got coming up in May.”
Listen to entire interview... (30:47 mark)
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